The debut album launch for Melbourne-based Dancing Heals had been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.

Recorded over a period of twelve months, Into The Night has been described as a layered chronicle of the band’s genesis and continuum, and a generous crowd had flocked to Cherry Bar to revel in the band’s melodic evolution.

Local four-piece The Corsairs were first on stage to animate the early arrivals with their energetic garage rock. Infused with a slight trace of surf-pop sway, the raucous sounds emanating from Cherry’s legendary narrow room were attracting all kinds of interested looks from passers-by outside AC/DC lane, and a whole lot of toe-tapping from the punters inside.

Planet Love Sound took to the stage next, with vocalist Tina Stefanou’s wail enchanting the slowly-building crowd like some velvet-legged siren from an ancient Greek chorus. Although difficult to pin down by genre, Planet Love Sound commanded the stage in the most intense, theatrical way; with an interesting composition of driving drum beats and lo-fi sounds tinged with shades of rich European influence.

Finally, the four lads from Dancing Heals graced the stage, opening with single “Live and Learn”, which garnered notable airplay in the United States earlier this year. The band delivered a set featuring the standout tracks from their debut album Into the Night, including “Hilary May”, but also eagerly took the opportunity to showcase several new songs, which revealed less starry-eyed dream pop, and a lot more refined rock. Rest assured the fresh tunes on display managed to maintain that glistening nostalgia that seems to come so effortlessly for the quartet.

The choice of set list beautifully contrasted the shared lead vocals of Jon-Lee Farrell and Daniel Trakell, although at times Farrell definitely emerged as the vocal victor. After dedicating “All The Time We Have Is Never Time Enough” to album mixer Tony Espie (who’s produced The Avalanches and The Holidays), a keen punter prematurely yelled out “Encore!” to which Trakell replied “we’re going to play five more encores!” much to the delight of the bustling bar.

Another enthused attendee swayed his cigarette lighter back and forth throughout “Into the Night”, and a rendition of “Diamonds” really encapsulated the band’s dreamy, romantic pull.

As the distinctive bass line of “Leave Them All Behind” kicked in, bassist James Lovie jumped off the stage to play to the floor. With ten minutes until the clock struck midnight, Trakell announced that it was almost his birthday, and the crowded bar erupted with celebration. But it wasn’t the only celebration – making clear that this was the crowd’s salute to a local band which has worked tirelessly to fund and release a cross-genre debut album and live show, they should certainly be proud of.

– Liz Margaronis